Despite of issuing a press release last week, claiming that the Tier 1 Investor Visa route would be suspended, such a thing will not happen. A short statement issued by a Home Office Spokesperson claims that the former decision has been overturned. No further explanation has been given in this regard.
“The Tier 1 Investor visa is not currently suspended, however we remain committed to reforming the route. A further announcement will be made in due course,” the spokesperson said.
Also known as the Golden Visa, the Tier 1 Investor Visa is granted to foreigners who prove they will be running a business in the UK where they would invest at least £2 million. It has been a hot topic for years now in the UK. Anti-corruption campaigners have been constantly demanding its abolition or reformation, claiming that it gave the opportunity to “ill-gotten riches from overseas” to come to the UK.
Failure to Suspend Tier 1 Investor Visa Sparks Controversy
The move to put on hold its suspension has already sparked controversy. The non-profit anti-corruption body Transparency International UK, issued a press release condemning the reversal.
“We call on the Government to urgently clarify its policy towards the Tier 1 Visa Scheme, as well as set a timetable for when and how the promised review of previous recipients will be carried out. Any individuals found by this review to have brought suspicious money into the UK should be subject to police investigation into the provenance of all their UK assets,” the release reads.
According to Transparency International, any new investor visa system must be watertight, and subject to independent checks to ensure, it does not become a red carpet for those who seek to use the UK “as a safe haven for their ill-gotten gains.”
The same body had identified over 3,000 individuals and their families living in Britain with Golden Visas, the vast majority of whom were from Russia and China. The TI concluded that little to no checks were carried to find the origin of the money invested to secure the visa.
Following the attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, on April in England, the UK government reviewed the visas of 700 wealthy Russians residing in the country who gained British residency through the Tier 1 Investor Visa.
The Russian billionaire businessman, investor, and politician Roman Abramovich, was among them. Oligarch Abramovich who is also the owner of Chelsea Football club withdrew his UK visa extension application, and instead obtained an Israeli passport.